Hear Victoria Beckham gear up for the upcoming Spice Girls reunion with a new single featuring Nas. Plus, tracks from Iron & Wine, Regina Spektor, Dilated Peoples, and Papoose

By Simon Vozick-Levinson
Updated December 20, 2019 at 02:52 AM EST
Credit: Doug Peters/Retna

Nas spices up new Posh single

Is she or isn’t she going through with that NBC reality series? Will she or won’t she conquer the world all over again when she tours the world with the reunited Spice Girls? Those answers will have to wait for another day, due to more pressing matters: Posh Spice’s first solo single in ages has just hit the airwaves — and it’s not half bad. Sure, her vocals are autotuned to oblivion, but at least that means she hits all the notes in that peppy melody. And the hook’s British English is awfully cute (”I wanna rock, full stop” — that would be ”I wanna rock, period,” to us Yanks). Best of all, Posh somehow cajoled one of the greatest rappers of all time into serving as her hype man. Yep, that’s Nasir Jones, ”God’s Son” himself, shouting ”Uh! Full stop!” in the background, even adding a phoned-in verse of his own. Hip-hop may be dead to Nas, but it seems his appreciation for perky Europop lives on. (Hear it at AOL Music)

IRON & WINE, ”Boy With A Coin”
Few contemporary artists write lullabies quite as skillfully as Sam Beam, a.k.a. Iron & Wine. The bearded bard’s first two albums have been full of ’em: Easy-paced, unfailingly pretty folk songs which have a way of putting some listeners to sleep after a minute or two. That’s all well and good, but the first single from Beam’s upcoming album The Shepherd’s Dog (out in September) suggests that he’s interested in being something other than a modern-day Brahms. Afrobeat-esque percussion and snaky backward guitar licks intertwine behind his tender whisper of a voice. The results are as enchanting as they are unexpected. (Buy it on iTunes or stream it at I&W’s MySpace)

REGINA SPEKTOR, ”Better (Radio Recut)”
If you think you’ve heard this one before, you very well may be right: ”Better” appeared on Spektor’s album Begin to Hope over a year ago, and it was launched as a teaser single even before that. But choice TV placements have helped boost Spektor’s mainstream profile since then, so she’s re-releasing the tune now — with a few key differences. Where ”Better” ’06 featured muddy guitars that almost drowned out her delicate vocals, the new mix sounds fresh, bright, and positively Clear Channel-ready. Consider it a well-executed instance of pop perestroika from the Moscow-born chanteuse. (Buy it on iTunes)

After spending much of the ’90s as certified indie-rap darlings, L.A.’s Dilated Peoples came tantalizingly close to mainstream stardom in 2004 with their Kanye West-produced hit ”This Way.” They fell right back off the pop map with their next album, though, which is probably how the resolutely non-commercial trio prefers things. In any case, their lead single from July 31’s The Release Party certainly has plenty of throwback appeal. From the brainy boasts of lyrical tag team Rakaa and Evidence to the twitchy soul samples of longtime production associate The Alchemist, ”Spit it Clearly” is everything a Clinton-era Dilated fan could wish for. (Buy it on iTunes or stream it from Dilated Peoples’ MySpace)

Mixtape stardom is a funny thing. Papoose has cemented his rep as one of New York’s sharpest punchline slingers with a string of quasi-legit releases, but it’s hard to say how that will translate into sales for his major-label debut, this fall’s The Nacirema Dream. The album’s first official single certainly sounds like a transparent bid for commercial success, from Scott Storch’s chintzy synth stomp to Snoop Dogg’s suave guest verse. Still, Pap gets in some solid shots (”The U.S., I’m the lyrical president/The U.K. king/Wild sinister, they love me in Canada/They call me the prime minister”), even if longtime fans know he’s capable of being far more clever than he is here. Here’s hoping he doesn’t dumb down his quirky style any further on the rest of the LP. (Stream it at Papoose’s MySpace)